This is the story of how we created a do it yourself (DIY) tiki torch from a pair of snow skis. It’s also the story of my husband’s first time in a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and how shopping at a ReStore can lead to unique projects you might not otherwise have thought of.
It all started with a backyard in need of a tiki torch.
My husband, Mark, and I approach projects differently. He usually likes to shop at a home improvement center for materials. I like to shop Habitat ReStore where there is opportunity for interesting, unique finds and amazing deals. Plus, I encounter objects I normally might not consider, which can lead to an even better project.
Shopping ReStore for a specific project like this one makes the walk around the store more strategic. Since we needed something to create the post for a DIY tiki torch, I was looking for something long. We looked at shovel handles, stair parts, fence posts and many other possibilities. Then I saw the answer in the exercise equipment area: skis. Priced at just $1, they were the perfect height; we were delighted.
We also needed some metal elements and a glass container to make the torch. I looked around the housewares area. I found a metal goblet that fits inside a glass vase, and a coaster with a metal rim that fit perfectly, too. All priced at $1 each.
Total cost: $5.
Check out how we made an inexpensive and unique DIY tiki torch below. Hopefully it can serve as inspiration the next time you are looking for a new project at the Habitat ReStore.
I was thrilled to bring my husband, Mark, to Habitat for Humanity ReStore for the first time. I think he might have been feeling my thrill a bit too much because he needed this sign that we spotted outside the store.
How to make a DIY tiki torch out of snow skis
The first thing I did when we got home was to prep and clean the skis for the project.
Mark immediately got started building a wood base for the skis to slot into. The base needed to fit the skis perfectly so they wouldn’t lean, and he used a 5-inch nail in the bottom so that the tiki torch could be set firmly in the ground.
I decided to paint the skis a bright yellow. Since this project needs to stand up to the weather we used an indoor/outdoor spray paint with rust protection.
Mark cut a block for the top of the skis—you’ll see why later in the blog—and I decided to paint it copper.
Mark used this copper sheet to create a sleeve for the base of the tiki torch. The copper pattern gives the tiki torch texture and a more polished look.
After the skis were dry, I used Gorilla Glue construction adhesive to glue the skis together. The glue sets in just seconds.
When gluing two pieces together, it helps to put glue on both pieces in a wave pattern.
Because my arms are not very long and I only have two hands, I used clamps to make sure the glue set up correctly and there were no gaps in the skis.
Then I glued the top piece that I had painted copper to the top of the skis. This piece of wood will be where the torch of the tiki torch will sit.
Now it’s time to make the top part of the tiki torch. We cut a piece of the copper sheet in a circle to create a lid for the torch; the copper sheet design punctures are perfect for keeping the wick vertical. After checking the height of the glass container, I cut the wick to length.
Then I superglued the three items that we purchased from Habitat ReStore.
The skis fit perfectly inside the wood base that Mark built, and I drove two screws on either side of the skis to ensure that the skis would be snug and vertical. Yes, I enjoy DIY projects this much.
After looking at the tiki torch, I decided it needed the copper sheet accent at the top. I traced the shape of the top, cut out the shape, and then glued it in place.
It was ready to light. Sure, I could have lit it with less than a torch that requires safety glasses and gloves, but I like any opportunity to use my handheld torch, especially with the first lighting of our new DIY tiki torch skis.
The tiki skis look good with the grill and make a backyard party more festive.
They fit in perfectly with our pallet sitting spot in the yard, too.
Theresa co-hosts the MyFixitUpLife talk show with her husband Mark, who is her partner at work and at home. She is the designer for Food Network’s ‘Save My Bakery,’ and designed for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. She is a licensed contractor, certified color consultant, and certified aging-in-place specialist with a focus on Alzheimer's. She is an author of Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement, DIY Quick Fix, and Complete Guide to Shelves & Built-Ins.